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HIGHLAND — After playing spoiler to Corner Canyon's near record-breaking winning streak, the key for Lone Peak going into senior night against Westlake was not to take the Thunder lightly.
The Knights didn't look like themselves for much of the first half, but they shook off the rust as the game wore on to topple the Thunder 42-7. With the win, Lone Peak finished in a three-way tie with Corner Canyon and Skyridge for a share of the Region 4 title.
"I didn't like our first half at all, but I thought we came out and played better in the second," Lone Peak head coach Bart Brockbank said. "It's hard to yell at your team when you're up big at half, but the message was just to not focus on who we're playing but how we are playing."
Brockbank was far from the only member of his team who felt the team's first half didn't live up to the Knights' standard, either. Senior receiver Luke Hyde said: "It was a sloppy first half."
Hyde transferred to join Lone Peak after three strong seasons at Wood Cross and he's been one of the Knights' top receivers all season. "We played sluggish, but I felt like we really picked it up as the game wore on," Hyde said.
Hyde scored the first touchdown of the night for the Knights as senior quarterback Easton Comer connected on a 38-yard touchdown to give Lone Peak a 7-0 lead with 9:27 in the first quarter. Westlake responded on the next series with a long drive inside the Knights' 30-yard line.
The Thunder looked to be on their way to tying the game, but disaster struck when Westlake senior quarterback Garrison Higgins was unable to control a low snap and the Knights recovered the ball.
The Knights, however, struggled to move the ball for the remainder of the first quarter and for parts of the second quarter. But its stingy defense, which was led by do-it-all linebacker Luke Durfey, continued to hold strong while the offense sputtered.
Westlake eventually worked it into Lone Peak territory again on two other drives in the first half, but one of the drives ended on a blocked field goal attempt and the other on a turnover on downs after the Knights defense held strong.
The Knights offense finally came alive after Westlake's turnover on downs and capped off a drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Durfey with 4:03 left in the half. From there, Lone Peak built up a 21-point lead at halftime before securing three more touchdowns in the second half in a dominant performance.
Lone Peak's goal to make it a 21-point lead at the break appeared to be in jeopardy when the offense faced a fourth-and-8 situation inside Westlake's 40-yard line. But Comer rolled out to the left and hit receiver Cole Christensen for the first down. A few plays later, Comer connected with Alex Passey for a 23-yard score.
Westlake was held scoreless until the final play of the game when the Thunder found pay dirt and to avoid a third-straight week of being shutout in a game.
The Knights defense has held four of their last five opponents under 17 points and Brockbank said he was pleased to see that trend continue Wednesday night. "I was super happy with our defensive performance and for the most part thought they played really well."
Brockbank also praised the performance of Comer, saying that his starting quarterback "managed the first half well" before he was able to "elevate his play" in the second half to secure a win.
With it being senior night and the regular season finale, it was an opportunity for Hyde to reflect on his decision to join the Knights. When asked if he felt he made the right decision, he didn't waver.
"100%," Hyde said. "I love it here."
With the win, Lone Peak will have a first-round bye, while Westlake will await the results of Thursday and Friday night's games to see who they'll play in the opening round of the state tournament.